rRoxymore: 'The industry machine is not something I want to be caught up in'
Berlin-based, Montpellier-native, rRoxymore has been carving her own niche for some years now and, as her star rises, she continues to do things entirely in her own way. Crafting a distinct, rich style of bassy techno, rRoxymore's is a sound that is fast becoming an unmistakeable hallmark at many a club and festival. Get to know...
Words: Richard Brophy
Pic: Tonje Thilesen
From: Montpellier, France
For fans of: Aardvarck, Randomer, Karen Gwyer
Three tunes to check out: 'This Is Not What You Think', 'Tropicalcore', 'Prodrome'
“It’s quite diverse; partly it came from my parents, partly from my studies, and another part came from my own explorations,” — Hermione Frank, the creative maverick behind rRoxymore, is seeking to explain the many musical threads that bind together this sprawling, freeform project. With a major in electro-acoustic sound and a youth spent enjoying her native Montpellier’s rave scene, Frank is not a typical – or indeed comfortable – constituent of France’s house/techno lineage.
“I heard Daft Punk and Laurent Garnier back in the day, but I wasn’t as aware of that scene,” she concedes, adding that when she started off behind the decks, it was as a hip-hop and rare groove DJ.
Echoes of those styles are still audible in the contemporary rRoxymore canon: on ‘Tropicalcore’, her contribution to a recent Ostgut sampler EP, the beats and percussion rumble loosely and drop out occasionally, rather than following a linear narrative. But what resonated with Frank on a deeper level from that time was a friend introducing her to music production. While some DJs struggle to make this transition, Frank took to it easily, and so began rRoxymore, initially as a live project.
By the time she started to release music, Frank had moved to Paris and had immersed herself in the city’s world music scene, another element in the increasingly diverse rRoxymore palette. However, it was her next move that proved to be fortuitous. “I left Paris about seven years ago and moved to Berlin. At this point, I decided to take it [producing] seriously,” she recounts. “Berlin gave me more space. Before I moved, I didn’t feel close to house music, but electronic music is part of the DNA of the city and moving there felt like a natural progression.”
Despite a release on Stefan Goldmann’s Macro, it was a label from Bristol that saw rRoxymore step up a few levels. On a whim, Frank decided to get in contact with Don’t Be Afraid, which she had been a long admirer of. Its owner, Semtek, responded favourably and, to date, she has put out three EPs on the imprint. “I already really liked the label and Benji [Semtek] is easy and natural to work with. It’s not a label that started yesterday, he has been doing it for some time now,” she says.
While the inaugural rRoxymore release on Don’t Be Afraid had a distinct dance oor focus, the two follow-ups, ‘Thoughts Of An Introvert’ (Volumes 1 and 2), showcase Frank’s love of experimentation, as complex percussion and woozy synths unravel over loose rhythms. On tracks like the mysterious, slightly discordant ‘This Is Not What You Think’ or the cascading rhythms of ‘Run... Feet’, there is an otherworldliness that only artists like Jeff Mills or Terrence Dixon succeed in attaining.
Is it an autobiographical series? “Yes, I am an introvert, and it’s not easy for me to be in this kind of world,” she admits. “I mean, I am happy when I am up on stage, but I find the stuff around it, the lifestyle and the whole machine around the scene is not something I want to be caught up in. “Even with social media, there is a lot of pressure on artists to be out there selling yourself, so you have to be musically talented and a salesperson. It’s not for me.”
Thankfully, though, rRoxymore can let the music do the talking.